When Yakima Valley couldn’t quite hit ’em where they ain’t Sunday night, the Pippins played the waiting game.
Their patience paid off as two walks and an infield error led to a three-run sixth inning in Yakima Valley’s 4-2 West Coast League victory against Wenatchee at Yakima County Stadium to cap a three-game sweep.
Yakima Valley (5-1) will get a rare two-day break before returning to action Wednesday night when Victoria visits for two games. The Pippins’ only other two-day break is for the All-Star game in late July.
“That’s rare in this league,” YV manager Marcus McKimmy said of the break. The time off also will give the team a chance to get closer to a complete roster.
“Every day is a little bit different team dynamic, but it’s good because we’re filling the locker room, we’re filling the dugout the energy is better, the confidence is just getting better,” McKimmy said.
The Pippins, who entered Sunday’s game win an already league-best 2.05 ERA, gave up one earned run to Wenatchee, while striking out nine batters and walking two.
“So far anytime we’ve scored four runs it’s been good enough,” McKimmy said. “Those guys have don their job and it gives you a chance every time.”
Yakima Valley’s offense, though, struggled to back the solid pitching, but not because it wasn’t smacking the ball around. Many of those hard-hit balls, however, found a Wenatchee fielder.
The Pippins had 10 fly-ball outs and a pair of line drives that could’ve led to more runs had they found a hole.
“We’ve had some bad luck that way, but our guys have not flinched and continue to battle even when we haven’t cashed in,” McKimmy said.
That’s exactly what the Pippins did in the bottom of the sixth inning.
With Yakima Valley trailing 2-1, Owen Cobb led off with a walk. Tyler Pittman then singled (the lone hit of the rally) and Daniel Cipriano was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Davis graduate Henry Gargus, who picked up the state player-of-the-year award Saturday at the All-State Baseball Series at Parker Faller Field, drew a walk to push across Cobb with the tying run.
An out later, Justin Lutz’s ground ball to second base was thrown away, allowing Pittman and Cipriano to score.
“We didn’t do a ton to get over the hump, but just by battling and taking what they gave us and putting balls in play we were rewarded,” McKimmy said.
Yakima Valley starting pitcher Dylan Barkley pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing four hits and no earned runs. The left-hander also struck out four and walked none.
Scott Youngbrandt pitched an inning and two-thirds to get the win, and lefty Jack Gonzales, who had arrived earlier in the day, pitched two shutout innings to notch the save.
Cobb and Pittman each finished with a pair hits and a run. Cobb also knocked in a run with a double in the third.
Blake Klassen was 3 for 4 with an RBI and two stolen bases for the AppleSox, who lost their fifth straight.
The North Division rivals won’t see each other again until Yakima Valley visits Wenatchee in early August.